The RSVP Challenge

Happy Thursday! I’m not sure when school starts for you, but here in Sulphur Springs, we’re down to 12 days and counting. I have completely mixed emotions. I’m so proud of my daughter, and she is so excited to start the first grade. However, I’m also nervous and can’t believe she’s big enough to go to the first grade. I want to simultaneously protect her and see how well she flies on her own. Confusing? Try feeling all of that at the same time.

We’re on the brink of cool weather, warm sweaters, leaves, pumpkins and all things fall. With that, each year, I always notice an uptick in invitations. Birthday parties, Halloween parties, cookie parties, etc.

So, to help us become more helpful to others, I’m encouraging everyone to join in on my RSVP challenge! The goal is to RSVP within three days of receiving an invitation by the sender’s preferred method. If it doesn’t state how to RSVP, I encourage calling to let them know if you will/will not be able to attend.

Hosting a party is stressful enough with the cleaning, buying of food, cooking of food and on and on and on….let’s not add something else to the pile. It’s a simple, FREE way to become more helpful to others. I hope you’ll join in!

Correct Correspondence – Reader Q&A

Q. I wanted to see if you would be willing to give a little clarification on how to address people on an envelope. Specifically, with titles and without titles. Also, what about women who don’t change their last name after marriage? I appreciate your help!

A. Thank you for reading! I am more than happy to help. Let’s start with the basics. If John Smith and Jane Smith are married and are of equal ranks, it would Mr. and Mrs. John Smith. If you choose a more informal approach it would be Jane and John Smith. The old adage is, “you never separate a man from his name.” Yes, it’s a little dated, but it’s a decent way to remember which name goes first. If Jane had kept her maiden name of Johnson, it would be Mr. John Smith and Ms. Jane Johnson. She would never be addressed as Mrs. Smith, as she didn’t take that name. She would be Ms. Johnson. Now, let’s say she did take his last name of Smith. Traditionally, she would always be referred to as Mrs. John Smith and not Mrs. Jane Smith. Nowadays, it is completely acceptable to list Mrs. Jane Smith, if that is her preference.

If Jane is a doctor, and her husband is not, on the envelope it would be Dr. Jane Smith and Mr. John Smith. If they are both doctors, it may read Drs. Jane and John Smith.

If children are included on the envelope, they are addressed on a separate line below their parents’ names. For a boy, traditionally under the age of 10, the title of Master is to be used. He drops having a title after 10 until he turns 18, at which time he becomes a Mister and warrants his own invitation, even if he lives with his parents.

Girls traditionally did not have a title until age 10. It’s very common now, though, to refer to a female as Miss from birth on. At 18, she, too, receives her own invitation, even if she resides with her parents. I hope this helps!

 

 

Summer Tea Time At Cotillion

One of my favorite parts of Cotillion is getting to watch the students experience something new for the first time. Aside from my daughter, none of the other students enrolled in Junior Cotillion had ever participated in an afternoon tea. While our tea time was a bit later than traditional tea (class begins at 4:15pm), they were all too thrilled to get to try it!

Their sweet, puckered faces told me that, while they didn’t love the taste of hot tea without additions, they were willing to step outside of their comfort zone and try something new – a trait that will take them far in life.

By far, their favorite version was the hot peach tea with both honey and a spash of milk added.

My own daughter is participating this summer, so I know too well how, even with correct teachings, kids can be when at home. Put them in a different atmosphere, though, and they really grow and mature. Each student placed their napkin on their lap, and they all did their very best to not splash or clink the glass when stirring. Mouths were closed when the delicious scones and tea sandwiches (avocado ranch and strawberry cream cheese) were devoured.

Give them an opportunity to meet your expectations, and I promise they will.

A few questions were brought up during tea, and I enjoyed getting the opportunity to teach on more than what was on our class agenda. One of the questions I felt worthy of sharing with everyone, as there is a common misconception on high tea.

Isn’t high tea very fancy? This was the simple question that spurred great conversation, and I’m happy to share my answer with everyone today!

No, high tea actually refers to the high-back chairs around a dining table. Commoners often ate “high tea” on Sundays after work was completed. It is more like our supper today. It was also referred to as a “meat and potatoes tea.”

A low tea is what most Americans think of as traditional tea. It refers to the low tables one might find in a person’s home, such as a coffee table.

Teas were meant to be an informal way of entertaining. While teas may be “formal” in today’s viewpoint, you would never wear a formal gown to one. The term “tea length” originates due to the time of day. Since it’s mid-afternoon, the length isn’t full length, but it would still be considered “nice,” which isn’t a synonym for “formal,” at least in the etiquette world.

Other common terms are afternoon tea or cream tea. An afternoon tea would usually offer both sweet and savory options, and a cream tea may have only scones with clotted cream to serve with the tea.

The students learned so much while trying something new, and I truly think I enjoy as much as they do each time. The next time you’re thinking of having friends over, consider a tea!

Bonus info: When drinking tea, the pinky never goes up!

Getting Outside

Did it just suddenly seem to go from cool to hot where you are? It absolutely did here in east Texas. The only benefit is that we can now officially use the pool we put in! We entertain often, and staying outside during the summer can seem fun in theory, but it’s often too hot to just sit around.

Aside from the pool, I absolutely love to play yardzee…it’s just a much larger version of Yahtzee!

This one has a reusable score board, which makes it fun to truly play. If you’re crafty with tools, you could also try to just make it on your own.

We also enjoy playing corn hole with the kiddos and friends during the warmer months. This set that I found on Amazon is much less expensive than any of the others. I’m not sure it’s regulation size, but it seems to be full size and not a table-top size, which is really all I personally care about. I don’t plan to go pro any time soon.

What are your favorite things to do outdoors?

{This post contains affiliate links, and we will receive compensation for purchases made through the links.}

Making Every Day Special

My granny had a talent for making every day special. Even though I was 12 when she and my aunt built a new home to move into, I associate most of my childhood memories with her in her old home, which she and my pappy moved into when they were married.

It was a simple white frame home with well-loved wood floors. There were also three points of exit, which probably caused gray hairs for my granny when she was watching me. The home didn’t have central heat or AC, so windows were regularly open, and the smell of honeysuckle permeated the air. She was an avid pie maker, so it was a regular occurance to see a cocount meringue pie in the kitchen.

My granny always told me that she cooked simple meals. But they never felt simple. Even a sandwich lunch in the heat of summer was special there. She pulled out all of the stops, and, as a mom, I wonder where she found her energy. For sandwiches there were always multiple varieties of meats and cheese in the Brookshire’s deli bags. Variety never stopped there, as there were options for every topping I could think of. She’s usually have a cantelope or other ripe summer fruit that she had cut up earlier, and tomatoes were both a topping and a side, sprinkled with a bit of salt. While her favorite chips were Lays potato chips, those were never the only ones she had. Even in the absence of one of her homemade pies (which never lasted long), Little Debbie treats were there following the meal. She still made it an experience.

I was thinking about these meals recently. I think too often we add unneccesary pressure on ourselves. While I do not (and will not) ever think it’s acceptable to just grow lazy and do the bare minimum, I also don’t think it’s prudent to add extra work just to add the extra work. She never felt pressured to make seven-course meals. She knew how to keep things appropriate.

My granny made sandwiches special. She enjoyed doing more than throwing a piece of meat and cheese on a slice of bread. That’s where I find much of my motivation. The meal never cost much, but, even as a 31 year old, I remember those meals vividly.

To me, this sums up etiquette so well. It doesn’t have to cost much. It just has a way of making the ordinary special. Don’t let fear hold you back from making each day special. You don’t need to work yourself silly. Invite friends over for sandwiches. I can guarantee those memories will last.

My daughter, my mom and I are the next generations of my granny’s legacy.